World of Warcraft expansion announced

At its Blizzcon conference in Anaheim, Calif. on Friday, Blizzard Entertainment revealed the first details of an expansion pack planned for World of Warcraft called The Burning Crusade.

World of Warcraft is Blizzard’s entry into the massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) genre. The game is based in the fantasy world of Azeroth, scene of past Warcraft games. Players assume the role of heroes from each of the species or races represented in Horde and Alliance factions, picking everything from their characters’ physical appearance to their profession.

As an online game, World of Warcraft teams up thousands of players on online servers, where they’re charged a monthly fee in order to play. The game has become an international phenomenon, spurrings hundreds of thousands of players to subscribe. It was released simultaneously for the Mac and PC late in 2004 and has been maintained for both platforms ever since.

The add-on pack, The Burning Crusade, will expand the game with new races, new lands to explore, new “Battlegrounds” upon which to fight other players, additional professions, new items and more. Gamers who install the expansion pack will be able to increase their characters’ experience cap to Level 70 (Level 60 is the current limit).

Two new playable races will be added with this. Blizzard only revealed initial details about one such race today — the Blood Elves, descendants of the exiled Highborne elves aligned with The Horde.

New high-level dungeons will be added, new monsters, hundreds of new quests and new items and much more. An entire new continent called Outland will also be featured — it is the remains of Draenor, homeworld of the Orcs. Outland is now ruled by the fallen elf Illidan, who lives in fear that he will be discovered by Arthas, the new Lich King, and the remaining Lords of the Burning Legion.

A release date was not announced, but system requirements are expected to be the same as the original.

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